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Inter win again as Serie A returns

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ROME, Italy -- Goals by Adriano and Hernan Crespo gave Serie A leaders Inter Milan an easy 2-0 win over Chievo on Sunday as Italy's top flight resumed with four matches played behind closed doors.

Chievo's Bentegodi stadium was one of the grounds pronounced off-limits to spectators after failing to meet safety regulations laid down in response to the death of a policeman during rioting outside a match in Sicily a week last Friday.

The empty stands made little difference to Inter, whose 15th successive victory in the division gave them 60 points from 22 matches, 11 points ahead of second-placed Roma, who beat Parma 3-0.

At a half-empty San Siro, Ronaldo made his debut for AC Milan but was upstaged by Marek Jankulovski, who hit a superb long-range winner in a 2-1 victory over Livorno.

The return of Serie A after a week's suspension was a low-key affair, not only because of the closed stadiums but also due to the rigorous security checks.

AC Milan fans were frisked and their identity cards and bags checked before entering the San Siro.

Media said five Inter Milan supporters were stopped by police outside the Bentegodi after being found in possession of firecrackers.

Inside the stadiums, however, there were none of the pyrotechnic displays that have become such a familiar sight among Italy's hardcore ultras, while the absence of away fans meant police kept a low profile.

All matches were preceded by a minute's silence in memory of Filippo Raciti, the policeman killed on February 2.

Small sections of the crowd at Rome's Olympic Stadium, where Roma were hosting Parma, whistled but were quickly drowned out by applause from the rest of the ground.

"The applause showed there is a strong desire to change," said Italian Football Federation chief Luca Pancalli, who suspended play in all of Italy's leagues hours after Raciti's death.

"I don't claim to have the solution (to violence) in my pocket. But I saw some promising signs today," he told Sky Italia television.

Inter's fans, barred from the Bentegodi, did not miss a classic. Adriano's opening goal came after just 40 seconds, the Brazilian striker accelerating round home defender Fabio Moro on the left of the area before angling a shot in off the far post.

Chievo rarely looked capable of equalising, and in the 51st minute Adriano nodded the ball on for strike partner Crespo to fire past keeper Vincenzo Sicignano.

Afterwards, Inter coach Roberto Mancini criticised the government's decision to close some stadiums.

"We always react too late. Violence has been going on for years," he said. "But to play matches like this makes little sense. And at some grounds this situation looks like lasting until September."

Roma also had an easy victory thanks to goals by Simone Perrotta, Rodrigo Taddei and Francesco Totti, whose strike made him the leading scorer still playing in the division with 139 career goals, one ahead of Siena's Enrico Chiesa.


Adriano (right) and Crespo celebrate in front of empty stands as Inter cruised to victory.

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